The art of rejection and feelings of unrequited love is similar to someone pouring salt into an open wound, it stings and hurts but eventually you clean it out and get over it. Or so we think. I remember as a child, the ideals of love were so simple, you meet someone, and you fall in love and live happily ever after, the end. At least… that’s what my naïve self believed. Growing up, when I thought about love, I envisioned a feeling, an emotion that is endless and all consuming, an image of two people falling in love and riding off into the sunset only to live happily ever after. Recently, the idea of unrequited love boggles my mind. Where is the love for the ones who love but are not loved back? The dejection that is linked to someone not reciprocating your deeply rooted feelings, the sadness that is a consequence of wilful ignorance. Unrequited love is the illness to its counterpart, happiness and total contentment. A wise person once said, “Isn’t it ironic…we ignore those who adore us, adore those who ignore us, hurt those who love us, and love those who hurt us.” This wise person might have been onto something. Although highly cliché, this ironic sentiment is the basis for all of our romantic misgivings. While we might love love, we definitely do not like the idea of unrequited love. When we are not appreciated or loved in the same way, it creates a clash between the hope for our romantic present intertwining with that of our future relationships. The idea of unrequited love is something we have all experienced in some shape or form. Perhaps through a crush on the boy/girl at school, secret feelings for your best friend, a date or two with a guy/girl from Tinder but it does not work out. For whatever reason, fate, or the divine universe or whatever you might believe in is playing referee. Walking the halls of UTSC, I began to wonder whether this problem was a recurring phenomenon amongst my peers. How many times have you been dragged through the mud in the pursuit of love?
They say it is better to have loved than lost but what if you are a victim of both? This is precisely what unrequited love is, the painful instance of loving someone who does not feel the same way. To think about unrequited love and rejection, we must first look at the critical component of who is involved. There’s a naïve- butterflies in your stomach-can’t sleep without thinking about it- stage in a relationship that has you transfixed and convinced that everything is fine and dandy, when that is not always the case. The majority of the time, we fantasize and project our own dreams and expectations onto the other. This in turn allows for disappointment when things do not work out between the other person. I asked a few students at UTSC about this conventional set of notions and I was surprised to find out the different levels of unrequited love/rejection that existed. When asked about experiencing this issue, Idil, a third year arts management student said, “I remember back in high school, I guess I kind of experienced it with one guy…” she added, “it eventually led to something better cause I ended up getting with his friend instead!” after laughing jokingly, she later added: “When I think about love, I think about the relationship between me and my cat, Chester. He’s like a user and abuser, I give him my all and he doesn’t appreciate me as much as I appreciate him, and he chooses every family member but me! But honestly, it’s life! Not everybody is going to love you or like you at some point in your life but you gotta move on and appreciate yourself for who you are and KNOW that there are other people out there that will appreciate you back… maybe I should get a new cat though…”
The social aspect of rejection is one that is the basis of all fundamental romance. It is evident in the Films/TV shows we watch, the books we read and the music we listen too. “When I think of unrequited love, I think of rom-coms! Movies like Never Been Kissed and 500 Days of Summer are the backbone of our society.” says Nikita Singh, a fourth year Health Studies student. Time and time again, the hurt and turmoil that people feel through this unrequited love is one that is a synthesis of the romantic period. Hurt and pain sells, if you don’t believe me, ask Drake! In this commercialized appraisal of unrequited love, how do we even begin to pick up the pieces of our broken selves to ensure moving on? The idea of self-reflection and healing is the most crucial step in order to recover from the sting of rejection and unrequited love. The first thing you need to realize is, it’s their loss! As overused and wildly cliché as that sentiment is, your actions of infatuation are not made in vain if someone does not appreciate and love you for who you are. You are a badass! You are smart; you are loyal (I appreciate you *DJ Khaled Voice*). Aashna Thakkar, a fourth year New Media Studies student had some final wise words to share, “If a guy rejects you, it’s his loss! There’s plenty of other fish in sea, as they say!” So despite initial fears and reservations, continuously putting yourself out there will contribute to your experiences and drive you one step closer to your desired, everlasting romance.